Mara Kiernan is the lead analyst at the Homeland Defense and Security Information Analysis Center (HDIAC) where she contributes expert writing, analysis, and synthesis to research and training products across the HDIAC’s 8 technical focus areas. Prior to working for the HDIAC, Mara specialized as a mixed method researcher and has extensive quantitative and qualitative research experience. Her past work spans a number of focus areas, with publications on continuing productivity during presidential administration transitions as well as drone warfare. Mara is currently pursuing her M.S. in Terrorism & Homeland Security Policy at American University, and holds her B.A. in Foreign Affairs and Middle Eastern Languages & Literatures from the University of Virginia.
Countermeasures Against the Degradation of Warfighter Capabilities due to Infectious Disease Threats
This State of the Art Report (SOAR) explores the impact of infectious disease on military personnel, providing both an historical and ongoing risk profile of the various infectious diseases that put the warfighter at risk. It includes a look at the historical impact of infectious diseases on past conflicts before going on to detail current and future infectious disease risks, their impact on the warfighter, and challenges in prevention or treatment, and concludes with a quick-look summary of state of the art developments and recommended countermeasures to aid leaders during training and planning.
Podcasts / Webinars
In part one of this two-part podcast, HDIAC analyst Mara Kiernan interviews Dr. James Giordano, a Professor in the department of Neurology and Biochemistry at Georgetown University Medical Center. The discussion begins with Dr. Giordano defining neuroweapons and explaining their applied technologies. He provides insight into the manner in which international weapons conventions govern the use neuroweapons and discusses the threats presented by neuroweapons in today’s environment. Dr. Giordano goes on to review the need for continuous monitoring, including his views regarding challenges and potential solutions for effectively understanding global developments in neuroweapon technologies.
The second installment of this two-part podcast continues the conversation with Dr. James Giordano on the implications of neurocognitive enhancement technologies. Dr. Giordano discusses the ethical hurdles associated with such human enhancement technologies, the importance of building a competitive advantage,… Read More
In part one of this two-part podcast, HDIAC analyst Mara Kiernan interviews Dr. James Giordano, discussing the applications of neuroscience to national security. The discussion begins with a broad level conversation before narrowing the focus to warfighter neurocognitive enhancement. Dr. Giordano provides insight into the current state of neurocognitive enhancement, potential future technologies, and the various challenges associated with its development and use.
The second installment of this two-part podcast continues the conversation with Dr. Giordano on the implications of weaponizing brain science. In an article he wrote for HDIAC in 2016 titled ‘Battlescape Brain’, Dr. Giordano hinted at the possibility of a neuroweapons arms race that could follow from international surveillance. Dr. Giordano provides an updated look at these concerns in the context of today’s environment. He concludes by describing ethical frameworks that could regulate future policies for biotechnology as the world moves forward in this dynamic area.
This two-part series and associated state of the art report discuss infectious diseases from the viewpoint of the military warfighter. Infectious diseases are disorders caused by pathogenic microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites that can be passed by human-to-human contact, by insects or other animals, or by contaminated surfaces, food, or water. By its very nature, warfare lends itself to the spread of such disease, and contagions have had an impact on every conflict.